Routers Scare Me (So Here’s a Tutorial for Myself)

I work for a web company, and because of that a lot of my friends and family expect me to know everything about the Internet.

Well, I don’t.

I’ve just learnt to use Google efficiently.

And for that very reason, routers scare me. Because when I’m trying to configure the connection to the Internet, I can’t actually access it on my computer. So basically, once I start with the configuration, I’m on my own.

It’s true, I can still use the data on my phone, but I really don’t like searching the web for good tutorials on mobile. So here’s a tutorial to myself about configuring routers in case I have to do it again. (Maybe you can use it too.)

Why Configure a Router?

There are probably other reasons for having to configure a router, but these are the three I’ve had to do it for:

  1. Changing ISP. If you change your Internet Service Provider, in some cases they will give you a new router, but that wasn’t the case when we changed from Mweb to Afrihost. That’s not a problem; we’re still using our old router.
  2. Router problems. When we moved, for some reason our WiFi network suddenly wasn’t password protected anymore. Even worse, the normal login details for the router config also weren’t working. We were basically locked out of reconfiguring our system. This one sucks; because the only solution is to reset the router to the standard settings.
  3. Security. Very similar to the previous one. I wanted to update several passwords to make our network more secure.

How to Configure a Router

Before you get started, get all passwords mentioned below together.

  1. Reset the router. Click on the reset button at the back of the device. In most cases, you’ll need a pin to do that.
  2. Connect to the router. This is tricky if you can only connect through WiFi (because your laptop doesn’t have a LAN access), and you don’t have an idea what your wireless network will be called. When you reset, the network name also resets to a default. Luckily, we were able to connect through our AirPort device using the cable.
  3. When you’re connected, go to http://192.168.1.1/ in your browser. This will prompt a request to log in, but most routers have admin as the default for both username and password.
  4. When you’re logged in, you’ll still not be connected to the Internet. For that, you need details provided by your ISP. Make sure you have those details ready. It should be just a username and a password.
  5. Most routers will automatically choose the right settings for the configuration, apart from a few things.
  6. Find where you can enter the PPPoE username and password. These are the details provided by your ISP and lets you connect to their services through your router. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to go online again. routerconfig1
  7. Next, I also wanted to change the login details for the router. Instead of both username and password being admin, I wanted to make sure the password at least added some protection. routerconfig2
  8. Finally, I updated the actual WiFi network settings. You can change the name, but I mostly wanted to add a new password. Find SSID for the network name and WPA-PSK for the password to that network. routerconfig3

That’s it. Those are the main things you’d want to change when configuring a router.

My main last remark would be to test all of the new passwords you’ve set. Something can always go wrong and you don’t want to lose these login details. So test them all out by disconnecting and reconnecting.

Also, I can highly recommend using 1Password to store these details. As you can see, I’ve made one single router configuration entry that holds the details to

  • Access the base station
  • Access the wireless network
  • Connect the ISP

routerconfig4

That’s it. Next time I have to do this, I only need to come back here and read through this post. Maybe it’ll help you too.